How Do You Prepare Mustard Greens?

What springs to mind when you think “greens”? Growing up, I envisioned a large pot of Southern-style braised greens smothered in spices, the bitterness mellowed by a long, gradual cook. Infuse everything with smoked ham hocks or bacon ends and a sprinkle of hot sauce or pepper vinegar. So, how do you prepare mustard greens?

All types of greens were essential to the villager’s diet. They lead incredibly hectic lives, leaving little time for slow-cooked dishes or pots that require daylong attention. You cook most dishes hot and quickly.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, but the bunches you’re most likely to find are vibrant green in coloring with ruffled, frilly leaves.


  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 to 16 minutes
  • Serving: 4


  • 1 1/2 pounds of mustard greens, or roughly two bundles.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • optional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoonful of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoonful freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Equipped with

  • Chef’s knife
  • High-sided sauté pan


Prepare the garlic and mustard greens. Remove and discard the thick bottom stalks from 1 1/2 pounds of mustard greens. You should coarsely chop about 12 cups of greens with their stalks. Rinse in a colander, but do not dry—thinly slice 3 garlic bulbs.

It would be best if you sautéed garlic and red pepper flakes. In a large, high-sided sauté pan, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over a medium-high flame until glistening. If desired, add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, approximately 1 minute (do not allow the garlic to brown).

Add mustard greens to the pan and simmer. Mix the mustard greens a few handfuls at a time, stirring after each so they wilt until all the gardens are added. Stir half a teaspoon of kosher salt and a quarter of black pepper. Wrap and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring intermittently, until the mustard greens are tender. Remove from the flame, stir in 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and serve.

4 Tips For Cooking The Finest Sautéed Mustard Greens

The secret to taming mustard greens’ intrinsic bite is quite simple. Use a combination of heat, fat, sodium, and acid. When these elements work together, they mellow the greens and produce something tasty.

  • Heat: Heat mellows the spicy flavor of greens.
  • Fat: Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and ghee are excellent options for coating the leaves with grease to reduce bitterness. Or, if you’re the thrifty sort who saves bacon fat, you know it’s also a delicious option.
  • Salt: Regarding sodium, bacon is a staple in many southern mustard green recipes because it provides fat and salt. To counteract the bitterness of mustard greens, other savory ingredients such as soy sauce, pancetta, capers, and anchovies can be added to the cooking process. Of course, you can also just season with a large pinch of kosher salt.
  • Acid: Acid plays off the warm, spicy greens, fat, and salt to harmonize everything. After the greens have wilted and become tender, you will take the pan from the heat, and you will add a dash of acid. It could be your preferred vinegar, such as balsamic, sherry, red or white wine, apple cider, or a dash of lemon, lime, or orange juice. Here, I opt for balsamic vinegar because it is a pantry staple with an approachable, rounded flavor.

More Ways To Cook Mustard Greens

Here are the more ways to cook mustard greens:

1. Potatoes and Mustard Greens Salad 

Chef John states, “This is not a potato salad for beginners. Mustard greens are spicy, mildly bitter, and subtle.”

2. Braised Leeks and Mustard Greens

“Mustard greens, where have you been all my life?” asks the recipe’s author, Gardener98. “The earthy, mild onion flavor of leeks mixed with the chili kick of mustard greens braised in a buttery broth makes for a simple and tasty side dish.”

3. Curried Mustard Greens with Kidney Beans

You found this recipe while searching for a method to enjoy mustard greens without bacon fat. Let’s tell you — this recipe is a massive favorite of both myself and my spouse (who is an omnivore).”

Buying Mustard Greens 

Purchase mustard greens at a farmer’s market, an Asian market, or a conventional supermarket. Look for leaves that are crisp, green, and fresh, not withered or yellow. Select smaller leaves for milder flavors. For more robust flavors, choose larger leaves.

Storing Mustard Greens

Place mustard greens in the crisper compartment in a paper towel-lined bag or container with a lid. Keep them dry (no water droplets hanging out on them), and small loose leaves will keep up to 5 days. Clusters of large mustards could last up to 1 week.

How To Clean Mustard Greens?

Cleanse mustard green leaves immediately before preparing. Place the 

leaves in a basin filled with cold water and agitate them to remove any dirt. Then, give them a few minutes to float in the water. Any land should descend to the bottom of the bowl. Remove and thoroughly dry the greens before preparing them.

The leaves of mustard greens are prepared by rinsing, removing the stems, and chopping them. Sautéing them with garlic, onions, and broth or vinegar is common. Boiling and simmering are additional techniques. These versatile greens have a mildly bitter and peppery flavor, making them ideal for various culinary applications.

Thank you for reading….

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